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How to Choose Stain Color and Transparency


Ever wondered about the difference between semi-solid and semi-transparent stain? Don’t worry, we all have. When you’re choosing a stain, color and transparency are the two most important considerations. Let’s start with transparency.

Understanding Transparency

Transparency—or opacity—determines how much wood grain you want to see after your deck is stained. For newer wood, go with a clear, transparent or semi-transparent stain—that way some grain still shows through. Semi-solid stains are a better choice for decks that have seen their share of cookouts. You’ll still see some grain, but you’ll hide more of the wear and tear your deck has endured. Also note that you’ll get more protection out of stains on the semi-solid to solid side of the transparency spectrum—which are better for older, more vulnerable wood.

Choosing Color

And that brings us to color. With Olympic stains, you’re hardly limited to fifty shades of brown. Olympic solid stains are almost as varied as paint, so you have plenty of color options to choose from. Semi-transparent stains also offer some variation—including trending colors such as grays and tans, as well as unexpected shades like Smoke Blue and Avocado. After all, your deck is part of your house. Why not choose a color that complements your exterior?



Consider contrasting dark stains with lively, green shrubbery or a flower bed for added drama. Light stains—such as tans, whites and grays—can make a space look bigger, brighter and more open, especially in natural light. Lastly, don’t be afraid to explore blackened hues to add drama and elegance to even neutral exteriors.

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Variance in monitor calibrations can affect the on-screen representations of our actual paint and stain colors. Your local Olympic® Paints & Stains retailer can match and/or order the exact color that you desire with the help of the Olympic Paint or Stain color name or number.

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